Turf Blog 23-06-21

Turf zone – Skeltiemuir

The Greed-250 medal, where you control at least 250 zones at the one time, was the next medal on my turf medal to-do list that I wanted to achieve. However, while it’s not all that difficult to actually take 250 zones, other than the time and effort required, keeping control of them long enough to reach the 250 zone total, is another matter entirely. The main problem being other turfers, who obviously want to take zones as well.

Before I started, I did some ground work and research which mainly involved studying my local turf competition. My local area is Midlothian, centered around Bonnyrigg, and includes Eskbank, Dalkeith, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Rosewell and Roslin, along with a few outlying zones dotted about. I didn’t include the 60 or so zones in Penicuik as the three local turfers are very active in the area and I was unlikely to hold the zones long enough to be worthwhile. If I was lucky I’d be able to take and hold around 225 zones from my local patch.

As part of my initial research and planning, I looked at the activity patterns of my local turf competition. Looking at such things as who tended to take zones in which areas and importantly, when they were usually active. For example, I knew that if I took zones in Eskbank during the day or at night, a local turfer would take them back next day. I also noticed a difference between how many zones were taken at weekends and during week days. Essentially, it made sense to forget about trying to keep zones at weekends. I also looked at the activity patterns of turfers visiting from out with the area. Some would come and sweep the area clear while others would simply pass through following a linear route.

With all this in mind I set about taking zones, taking as many as I could during the week and hoping I wouldn’t lose too many overnight that I couldn’t retake them and keep the total rising. I also made a point of taking outlying zones, ones that are less frequently visited. The idea being I was more likely to hold onto them longer. Same for those zones located in less popular areas, usually off-road. There was also a couple of areas, the Mayfield area of Dalkeith, along with Gorebridge, that did not change hands regularly, so there was a good chance if I took these areas, I’d be able to hold onto them longer, which indeed, proved to be the case.

Over the course of about four days, I managed to gradually keep increasing my zone count, often going out at night to replace loses from during the day. By last night, I was ready to go for the final batch of zones I needed. My total was sitting about 225 zones, with only another 25 needed for the medal and having run out of zones locally, I headed off around 8.00 am for Musselburgh for those. During the cycle down to the coast, I noticed my zone total dropping. I was losing zones in Newtongrange, a local turfer was out taking zones back. Fortunately, I lost less than ten, so easily recoverable. My route followed the River Esk, with a loop around Levenhall Links, then across to Fisherrow Harbour and I reached my goal, the pop-up for the medal appearing on the phone. Another medal in the bag. Until next time. I need a rest.

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